I played Shadowbringers through early access, and finished the main story close to the official launch date on July 2.
After sitting on my thoughts for a while, I feel that the story is quite good. However, I'm annoyed at the way everything falls flat on its face via tropes during the final push, including the finale. Everything was great for the most part up until that happened. The character relationships between the Scions and our main character were great, though. I'm glad that Y'shota, my favorite Scion, finally got something of a character arc. Yet because of the tropes, my view on the story ended up souring as a result. I just don't care anymore.
The journey was excellent, despite a few lulls here and there. The ending did nothing for me. Shadowbringers is still the strongest beginning to an expansion yet. I doubt it will top the high that Stormblood gave me in patch 4.3, Under the Moonlight, with Yotsuyu, despite me not really caring for how the writers handled her up to that point. I doubt anything will ever top that for me.
But, that doesn't take away how I feel about the expansion's music and atmosphere, with my favorite being a place that technically no longer exists, now that I've made it past this part of the story.
This is NOT my character/footage, just a video I found on YouTube.
The hopelessness and unease in this song is a fine reflection of how I feel. There's a bit of hope at the end, until it loops back around to the first part. It's not depressing, though. It's quite graceful, measured and otherwordly in how bleak it sounds. I'm upset that the song is now replaced with something that manages to sound both generic and forced in how "happy" it is in comparison, after resolving the conflict in this location.
I wouldn't say that I feel hopeless, either. It's more that my perspective on things shifted massively over the past few years, to the point where interpersonal things that once seemed so important, are now pointless to me. Outside of interpersonal issues, I certainly have more room to care, like with what's going on in my country lately. My own personal, individual, isolated concerns are only my own as well. Beyond that, I place more value in the unknown, in what's to come, of all that is so much more transcendent than these worldly concerns that now mean nothing -- all of that feels like this song that plays during the Everlasting Light atmosphere in Kholusia.
About my character:
I changed to Viera right away.
I'm happy I did, because I love my character now. She's gorgeous. The bunny ears soften her a bit as an interesting metaphor for how sensitive I can be, personally. The hard and distant personality rounds it all out to perfection. She reminds me of how feminine I could have been, the flavor and the edge and the aloofness, if I didn't have this dysphoria to deal with.
I got to 80 as my old main job, astrologian, first. It made me so angry because I realize how little patience I have for healing in this game. Having to carry bad tanks through dungeons pissed me off to no end. I'm tired of being a babysitter for people who don't care to help themselves. I'm a mentor, so I accept my obligation to help people -- but there's nothing I can do with players who have no desire whatsoever to improve. I may be good at healing, but I found that I stuck with the job as a "might as well" type of thing, only because of how comfortable I am with the role.
I honestly had a crisis trying to work through this. It took me a while to make up my mind on what to do next.
Eventually, I settled on becoming a tank full-time.
Specifically, a dark knight, with warrior as a backup.
I've always had tanks as a secondary or tertiary role at best. I never prioritized them because I hated certain mechanics that revolved around tanking, mostly the expectation to have tank stance off at all times, or else our DPS suffered. Now that tank stances no longer force a DPS penalty, and everything we do generates enmity, I love tanking so much.
I can focus on myself when needed, helping the healer to not have to heal me as much. I can protect the party as necessary, but ultimately not have to worry about anything beyond general tanking details for myself. I don't have to babysit the whole party anymore on top of doing my own job.
Dark knight is perfect for me. I love the aesthetic, the high DPS, the feeling, the class identity, the fantasy of it all. Wearing FFXII Fran's heels and an odachi sword is really fucking hot to me. It doesn't get old, and it's helped me fall back in love with the game again.
The final tank role quest and the level 80 dark knight quest really spoke to me on a personal level. In the last screenshot below, it feels like the writer spoke to me directly.
I won't ever forget it.